Community, Engagement, Belonging and Access; Student Affairs

Celebrating Pride: Clemson’s month of honoring the LGBTQ+ community


CLEMSON — When people hear the word “pride” within the context of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) community, they may think of pride parades and festivals as events that celebrate and uplift the LGBTQ+ community. Today’s Pride events are the result of the 1969 Stonewall riots, when members of the LGBTQ+ community fought back against police raids at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Manhattan, New York’s Greenwich Village.

The Stonewall riots mark what many consider the pivotal “beginning” of today’s LGBTQ+ rights movement.

“Pride events are meant to continue the messages of the Stonewall riots,” said Ciera Durden, associate director for multicultural community development in Clemson University’s Gantt Multicultural Center. “The messages that we should affirm LGBTQ+ identities, practice resilience in the face of oppression and  celebrate the multitude of identities incapsulated within this community.”

While President Barack Obama declared June LGBTQ+ month to commemorate the Stonewall Riots, Clemson’s Pride events kick off at the end of March. The Gantt Multicultural Center, along with a committee made up of faculty, staff and students, will host a variety of celebratory and educational events including:

A  professional development workshop with KaeLyn Rich will be from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 27, in Hendrix Student Center, meeting room B. Rich is the assistant advocacy director for chapters of the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), the New York affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and staff writer for the popular online queer publication, Autostraddle. Serving as the connecting point between March’s Women’s Celebration Month and the beginning of Pride, Rich’s professional development workshop will focus on allyship and accomplices to marginalize identities. Rich will deliver a keynote address in Hendrix’s McKissick Theatre at 6 p.m.

Kaelyn Rich, Keynote speaker
Kaelyn Rich, Keynote speaker

Rich’s visit is sponsored by the Gantt Multicultural Center, Graduate School, the Humanities Hub, President’s LGBTQ Commission and the President’s Commission on Black Faculty and Staff.

A Pride Living Library, 5-7 p.m. Thursday, March 28, Cooper Library Brown Room. The Living Library is a dialogue event where people or “books,” volunteer to discuss their real-life experiences with “readers” on topics like gender, sexuality, cultural shame, religion, relationships and more. The event is sponsored by Clemson Libraries and the Gantt Multicultural Center

The annual Drag Show is March 29-30 from 8 to 10 p.m. in Tillman Hall auditorium.

The Clemson LGBTQ+ Campus Life: Past, Present, and Future panel discussion is 3-5 p.m. March 30 in McKissick TheatreAudience members can learn from a panel of alumni and a current students who will share their experiences and thoughts of life on campus for Clemson LGBTQ+. The Gantt Multicultural Center and  the LGBTQ+ Alumni Club are the event sponsors.

A film screening and dialogue discussion of  “Love, Simon,” sponsored by PFLAG Greenville, will be 5-9 p.m. April 1 in McKissick Theatre.

Former presidents of Clemson's Sexuality and Gender Alliance, Truett House and Jessie Bailey, cut the ribbon to The Wardrobe, a collection of clothing donated by the Clemson community for any student in need, with special emphasis on trans and non-conforming students in need of clothing.
Former presidents of Clemson’s Sexuality and Gender Alliance (CU SAGA), Truett House and Jessie Bailey, cut the ribbon to The Wardrobe, a collection of clothing donated by the Clemson community for any student in need, with special emphasis on trans and non-conforming students in need of clothing.

The 50 Years After Stonewall: Queer Scholarship Showcase, sponsored by the parks, recreation and tourism management department, the Clemson Libraries and the Gantt Multicultural Center, will be 3-5 p.m. April 4 in Hendrix Student Center, ballroom B. Participants can listen to a variety of scholars share lightning rounds of their work focused on the LGBTQ+ community.

Pride Prom, sponsored by the CUSG LGBT Commission 10 p.m.-midnight April 5 in the Barnes Center.

The LGBTQ Faculty, Staff and Alumni Mixer sponsored by the LGBTQ Commission, 7:30 p.m. April 5 at Nick’s Tavern and Deli.

The inaugural RAINBOW Ball is 7-11 p.m. April 20 in the Union’s Palmetto Ballroom. RAINBOW Ball gives students an opportunity to experience ball. The phrase “ball culture” is in reference to the New York underground drag/ball scene and highlights the culture that LGBTQ+ and people of color created for themselves. The ball is designed for attendees to express themselves freely through fashion, dance and general camaraderie with their peers.

Other events include ally trainings art breaks, LEAF and study abroad sessions, and more.

Questions and accessibility needs may be directed to Ciera Durden at

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